Tips to Prevent Cross-Contamination in Restaurant Kitchens

Dempsey Restaurant Cleaning Tips

When a customer walks through the doors of your restaurant, they come with a set of expectations. And these expectations exist for good reason – they expect the food you serve at your restaurant to be clean and safe to eat. If it’s not, they can get extremely ill and could even face life-threatening consequences.

This is because the kitchen can harbor dangerous bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. These can lead to great discomfort if an individual ingests the bacteria. If the person is a young child or an elderly adult, these strains could be fatal.

Maintaining a clean kitchen and preventing instances where bacteria can contaminate food is absolutely essential.

Here are our commercial kitchen cleaning tips to keep your restaurant kitchen germ-free:

1. Switch out your cutting boards.
One common source of cross-contamination is between raw meat and fresh produce. Raw meat is sweating with bacteria, therefore it’s dangerous to use the same cutting board for raw meat as you do for fruits and vegetables. Make sure you use a different cutting board for produce as you do for raw meat. And clean your cutting boards well in addition to switching them out after each use.

2. Clean out your sink as well as your sink drains.
When you place dishes in your sink, bacteria from the dishes transfers to your sink and down into the drains and through your garbage disposal. This bacteria can then develop an odor, or transfer to other items and possibly contaminate them. Make sure to frequently clean and disinfect the sink, drain, and disposal.

3. Clean inside, outside, and behind the fridge and freezer frequently.
Whether you have a simple fridge that staff reach into or a walk-in cooler or freezer, maintaining its cleanliness is critical. Make sure the door is closed when you’re not using it, the fridge and freezer are maintained at the proper temperature, food is separated, and the fridge and freezer are regularly disinfected.

4. Wash your hands using the correct method.
Anytime a staff member is about to prepare food or switch from raw meat to produce, and after taking care of a cut, sneezing, handling garbage, cleaning, or using the restroom, hand washing is necessary. And it’s not simply a quick task of running hands under water with soap. The soap has to be lathered for a full 20 seconds all over the hands, including under the fingernails, and hands need to be dried properly. The CDC has a guide on handwashing and we recommend putting up signs or posters on how to properly wash hands.

5. Make sure hand soap dispensers are always stocked.
Of course, in order for employees to keep their hands clean, it’s important for them to actually have access to soap! At Dempsey, we have a line of touch-free and manual soap dispensers and refills, as well as towel dispensers and sanitizers.

6. Disinfect and clean surfaces, utensils, and appliances.
Not only can contaminants spread to food from cutting boards, dirty hands, and other contaminated foods, but of course any other surfaces, like countertops, can get infected. It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning helps remove any visible signs of dirt and food, whereas sanitizing removes actual bacteria. Both are necessary because you can’t sanitize a surface with grains of dirt and food on it. This infographic by the National Restaurant Association provides a good example of how to implement both cleaning and sanitization on your countertops.

7. Set requirements for staff’s personal hygiene.
It’s not just about washing hands on the job. If employees come in having not showered in weeks, with hair full of dandruff, nails clearly untrimmed, and they are coughing and sneezing everywhere, that’s not acceptable. Put rules in place for what is expected of your employees when they come into work.

8. Wear professional food service clothing.
Chef coats, cook shirts, and aprons are easy to switch into and out of to prevent contamination between food items. For example, if the juice of a raw chicken gets onto a chef’s coat, the cook can easily change out of the old coat and into a fresh one so that contaminant isn’t sitting on them, ready to be transferred into other food items throughout the work shift. With a professional restaurant uniform service, you can make sure each food service apparel item is hygienic and safe to wear in the kitchen.

Ready to run an efficient, clean, and safer kitchen?

Call Dempsey today at 1-800-378-8060 for food service uniform rentals, towels, mats and mops, facility supplies, and restaurant linens!